Gaming revenues up, PH jobs secure despite influx of Chinese workers
The Philippines’ gaming industry is expected to rake in more revenues this year and next due to the continued attractiveness of integrated resorts to both foreign and local players, as well as the growing contribution of proceeds from online gaming, the country’s top casino regulator said on Wednesday.
According to Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chair Andrea Domingo, gross gaming revenues (GGR) of the growing gaming sector will likely hit P192 billion by the end of 2018. This marks an improvement over the P186 billion that the agency was forecasting for this year.
At the new forecasted level, the GGR — defined as the net difference between all bets made in the local gaming industry and all the winnings paid out to players — would have risen 14 percent from the 2017 level.
“Our performance this year is better than expected for both the private integrated resorts and the Pagcor-owned casinos,” Domingo said, adding that the online gaming sector is also experiencing substantial growth in bets from overseas players.
The Pagcor chief also predicted that the gross gaming revenues of the industry would rise further to P217 billion by 2019, representing a projected annual increase of 13 percent, for the same reasons as this year.
Speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum in Malate, Manila, Domingo also assured the public that Filipino workers are not at a disadvantage in the online gaming sector amid the influx of Chinese nationals in the country.
The Pagcor chair said foreign nationals are not taking jobs away from Filipino workers since only three-fourths of workers employed by online gaming operators are foreigners.
This was echoed by Pagcor vice president for online gaming Jose Tria who stressed that licensed online gaming firms employ at least one Filipino for every four foreign nationals.
Domingo also said that local jobs given to Chinese nationalities are “distinct,” which mainly requires linguistic expertise in the complex languages of China. While there are Filipinos who could speak Mandarin, Cantonese, or Hokkien, she explained that their diction and accent are different than the mainland Chinese.
“You should know the nuances of the language and culture is also a factor, especially when you give the good news and bad news, so it’s a different kind of expertise,” Domingo said, adding that while online gaming’s call centers in the country are labor intensive, the required qualifications are hardly met by Filipino workers.
She added that any Filipino who can meet the job’s requirements and qualifications would be preferred by online gaming operators since hiring local talent would help these gaming firms save on labor costs.
“It’s cheaper to hire locally because they will no longer need to worry about accommodation and food,” she said. “Now because they are all foreigners, the operators need to provide everything and they need to pay higher salary because it’s in foreign currency.”
Meanwhile, Domingo said that Pagcor and other government agencies will continue to raid unlicensed and illegal online gaming outfits, having cracked down on 170 such operators in recent months. /jpv
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